tv ABC World News Saturday ABC January 8, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
captioned by closed captioning services inc. tonight on a special edition of "world news," a congresswoman shot at point blank rage. >> i saw him shoot her in the head, and then he began very rapidly shooting all of the people around, very indiscriminately. >> gabrielle giffords and moyer than a dozen others, including a federal judge, all guns dowd outside a supermarket in tucson, arizona. tonight, the fight to save the congresswoman's life. >> the congresswoman is not deceased. >> her astronaut husband rushing to her side, and the suspect now in custody, who is he? what is his motive? and the reaction from arizona to the white house, tonight, a special edition of "world news." the shootings in tucson. i'm david muir. as we come on the air from the
west coast, it starts as a routine exercise in democracy, a congresswoman in a supermarket parking lot, meeting with her constituents when it became a seen scene of chaos. here are the late numbers at this hour. 19 people shot, 6 are now confirmed dead, including a federal judge and a young girl bury 9 years old. the congresswoman is fighting for her life, and the suspected gunman, just 22 years old, is in custody, and authorities are not convinced he acted alone. they're actively searched for someone else. president obama called this a tragedy for arizona and the entire country. and there was this from the congresswoman herself before the shooting. my first congress on your corner starts now. please stop by to let me know what is on your mind. we have coverage with david wright. >> 10:00 a.m., the congresswoman
was hosting her first public event of the year. she was standing behind a table talking to constituents when a man appeared and began shooting. witnesses say giffords was shot first in the head, and the gunman fired about 15 rounds in 15 to 20 seconds, then the gunman was tackled. the injured were rushed to nearby hospitals. the congresswoman was air lifted to university hospital in tucson where throughout the day, there were conflicted reports about her condition. 1:00 p.m., doctors emerged to announce that congresswoman gifford s was alive and out of surgery. her neurosurgeon is as hopeful as can be. >> i'm about as optimistic as can get in this situation. >> there are a lots of unanswered questioned, and here in arizona.
broad concern as wem. a lot of people have recognized that the political climate in the state has recently become poisonous. now it seems to be deadly. >> so encouraging to hear the lead surgeon saying he was as optimistic as can be. >> i talked a short time ago to an yieyewitness, a doctor who w there. the doctor is steven rayle, and he joins me just minutes ago. dr. rayle, thanks for joining us. we understand you were a former emergency room physician yourself who happened to be at the event. could you take us back to the moment when you knew something was wrong. >> i passed by the table on the congresswoman was standing there talking to several people. i went to the side of the table, beside a concrete post, and i looked up and i saw a man shoot her in the head. and then he began spraying
gunfire everywhere. at that point, i ducked behind a concrete post, and as he came around it, the whole thing unfolded in maybe 12 or 15 seconds. as he came around it, i laid on the ground and acted as if i were shot. >> pretending you were shot to avoid the shooter yourself. there have been conflicting reports on how many shots he fired. what did it seem to you? >> it seemed like at least 15 to 20. the crowd was quite small, probably 20 to 25 people there loosely gathered, and you know, half of them were shot. >> and as we learn more about this suspect tonight, this young man, what was his demeanor as you saw him? >> as he was shooting, he had sort of an impassive face. he did try to escape, and i think one of her staffers actually tackled him. and i assisted in holding him down until more people arrived. he did struggle. he did not say anything. >> and when you hear from the head trauma surgeon, a doctor
yourself, the congresswoman is fighting for her life tonight, surviving surgery. >> when i checked on her, she was actually conscious and moving her extremities and sitting, beeld held up in a half-way sitting position with her face covered. >> when you heard that tonight, what was your reaction? >> i'm very happy and relieved that she's alive, and i wish her the best for her recovery. >> dr. steven rayle, like so many others, praying for the congresswoman and the others fighting for their lives right now. we want to turn to steve irvin. he's at the scene, the supermarket behind him. let's set up the scene, still active here? >> it's normally a very busy intersection. right now, it's secured by the pima county's sheriff's department, and the fbi has taken over the investigation. we understand agents have been diverted from the national championship game in phoenix to investigate this case. and director bob mueller is also on his way to the scene. >> and steve, you have covered
politics in the reebgion for que some time. you said the congresswoman herself and other politicians in the area were no stranger to the emotions that loomed large over the political issues faced by on arizonians. >> giffords represents the eighth district, the district that sits right on the border with mexico. this summer when the immigration debate boiled over, there were threats of violence, vandalism affone office, and gifford seems like a point person for the obama plan to send troops to the border which many viewed at inadequate. >> it's been a busy afternoon for you as well. we appreciate your coverage for us. and congresswoman giffords just began her third term in washington, something of a rarity. she's a democrat from a largely republican district. she was largely aware of the partisan divide. today, her father was asked this
question as he rushed to the hospital to be by her side, did your daughter have any enemies? his response was, yes, the whole tea party. today, politicians on every sooim side condemned the attack. there's so much caution about inserting any kind of politics in this. >> that's exactly right, david. i can tell you from democrat and republican tonight, the unanimous reaction to this tragedy has been one of shock, horror, and disbelief. >> gabriella giffords was most recently heard on the house floor as one of those reading aloud the constitution. >> congresstial make no law respecting a establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise there or abridged the freedom of speech. >> trent franks is a fellow arizona representative. >> it's incredibly ironic she was out there practicing the first amendment, being part of free speemp, and she was shot. she was practicing the first amendment right that she had when some bastard shot her down.
and i think it's a tragedy again that biggers my ability to articulate. >> john boehner said in a written statement, an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. our prayers are with congresswoman giffords, staff, all who were injured, and their families. this is a sad day for our country. >> for nancy pelosi -- >> we stand before you with the deepest sadness for the act of violence that was committed against our colleague, gabby giffords, her staff, her constituents, and 93 now we know a federal judge as well. >> congressman joe crowley is one in congress who considered giffords a good friend. >> arizona has been a very contentious state over the last year or so with immigration at the forefront. but gabby has been a fighter. she has spoken out against the administration when she thinks
they're wrong. >> she had just won re-election in a tough came pain. she was reaeven on sarah palin' target list. she faced anger to her opposition over arizona's immigration law. immigration not surprisingly one of the oughtest issues in her district which shares a border with mexico. earlier today, the capital police put out a note to every member of congress telling them about the shooting and urging them to take prudent precautions about their own security, their own safety, but i also need to tell you that just a little while ago, we heard another notice from capital police to all memberf oz congress saying, quote, there is no indxz at this time this is part of a larger threat against the congresship or has an link to terrorism. >> that brings me back to a question we were talking about earlier today, that is whether congresswomen or men ever travel with security to events like this. >> it almost never happens.
i have been to countless town hall events, campaign events with members of congress and the house and senate. you almost never have a security presence unless it's one of the top leaders. they do by statute have security, the number one and number two in the house, and the senate for both parties. but for rank and file members of congress, it's almost unheard of to have security at the events. >> you covered arizona so closely. congresswoman gabby giffords won by, what, two percentage points or less? this was a hotly contested district. >> a hotly contested race. she was one of the top targets for republicans, and she won anyway in a bad year for democrats. with that said, i have to tell you, this is a member of congress that was and is a popular member of congress with democrats and republicans. she's vivacious, somebody who is popular up here. >> you can see by everyone you talk to, everyone hoping for her survival tonight. and the president spoke some time ago to the nation, calling
the gredz congresswoman a friend and speaking of those who didn't survive as well, john roll, and a 9-year-old girl who didn't survive as well. >> that's right. president obama was briefed about the tragedy at roughly 1:20 by his top counterterrorism adviser here at the white house as well as jim messina. at roughly 3:00 p.m., he convened a meeting of top officials, including his incoming chief of staff, bill daley, as well as his national security adviser in the situation room to talk about all the details. then after that, he talked to many public officials, including the governor of arizona on the phone, the speaker of the house, the democratic minority leader, and shortly after that, he came before the cameras to deliver a message to the nation. >> what americans do in times of tragedy is to come together. and support each other, and so at this time, i ask all americans to join me and
michelle in keeping all of the victims and their families, including gabby, in our thoughts and prayers. we're going to get to the bottom of this, and we're going to get through this. >> david, as has been mentioned, president obama directed the directser of the fbi, robert mueller, to go to tucson to supervise the investigation into what happened. mueller is currently en route, and as john carl mentioned, giffords is a very popular member of congress, president obama is very upset about this because he does personally like her very much in addition to admiring her services to the congress. >> jake, thanks so much. we're going to get to the bottom of this, and we're learning more tonight about the suspected gunman who left an ominous trail of videos and messages on the internet. the department of justice and fbi have joined arizona in this investigation, and pierre thomas has been working that part of the investigation from washington.
>> david, tonight, the top law enforcement officials in this country are focused on one troubled man who appears to have been hell bent on murder. the identified at 22-year-old jared lee loughner. he was preparing for a violent on slot. a few hours before the meeting, he posted a message entitled, good-bye friends. it starts, dear friends, please don't be mad at me. he was obsessed with violence and was mad at the government. this is one of his favorite youtube videos, let the bodies hit the floor. in this video, a u.s. flag is burned. in another posting, he write current government officials are in power for their currency. he appears paranoid, suggesting the government is monitoring his communications. he also discussed mind control and brain wash methods. federal law enforcement
officials plan to trace the fire arm used in the shooting. it's a semiautomatic pistol with an extended clip. >> a comprehensive investigation is currently under way. and at my direction, director bob mueller is en route to arizona to help coordinate these efforts. >> the u.s. capitol police are also assisting in the investigation, and plans were under way to step up security for congressional leaders. authorities have been concerned for quite some time about a troubling trend they saw developing after the virginia tech massacre in 2007. since that time, there have been dozens of mass shooting incidents where three or more people have been fatally wounded. hundreds have been killed in those incidents. >> our chief justice correspondent, pierre thomas. and when we come back, more on the congresswoman fighting for her life, and her astronaut husband who was preparing for his own mission when he heard the news today and raced to her
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life, and he was going to race to her side. he's on his way to tucson tonight, and david is in washington. you have met her husband. he has an extraordinary story of his own. >> he does. her husband is ostronot mark kelly. he's slated the fly the last shuttle mission in april. today, he got on a private plane to rush to his wife's side. >> just 40 years old, giffords started her third term this week. >> in november, we're going to take back our community, our district, our state, our government for the people, the working people. >> after running her family's tire business in tucson, gabby jumped into politics, and she's not afraid to take on her fellow democrats, including the president on border control, an important issue in her district. >> we want to make sure that the president of the united states understands and hears the plight of the people who are directing effected by the federal government's nult to secure our u.s./mexico border.
>> in a trip in 2007, she met mark kelly and they married. >> she's very vibrant, always moving, always doing something. she and mark are one of the most popular couples on capitol hill. >> mark kelly's brother scott is in space right now, manning the space station. he was notified of the shooting in a private phone call from houston. i talked to the twins recently who had pectsed to be the first blood relatives in space together, and asked giffords' husband what he might bring his brother. >> he asked me, underwear runs low in the space station he said, don't use all your underway, when you undock, let me keep some of it. >> great. they won't actually meet in space together because the shuttle mission has been delayed just a little bit, but that phone call to our houston station, david, very much like mark kelly, when word was out there, predictions his wife might be dead, he wanted to make sure everybody knew she was in surgery and fighting for her life.
i talked to him about his wife off camera. he seemed to be very much in love. >> he wanted everyone to know, true to form, she was fighting this. david kerley in washington tonight. we uappreciate it. >> when we come back on the broadcast, the federal judge who was killed in the tucson shooting. we remember him tonight and a powerful image that emerged in capitol hill today. as this special edition of "world news" continues. in capitol hill today. [ female announcer ] will women switch to new caltrate soft chews
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we took note that one of today's victims in the sooting in tucson was a federal judge, john roll. he was nameinated to the bench by george w.h. bush. he was born in pittsburgh, pennsylvania, but got this bachelors from the university of arizona and stayed. he served on the court since 2006. john roberts issued a statement saying the judiciary has suffered the terrible loss of one of our own. john roll was a wise jurist who served arizona and the nation with great distinguish as a attorney and judge for more than 30 years. he is survived by his wife and three children. he was 63. >> when we come back, a powerful picture that emerged on capitol hill as all this was unfolding.
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happened next was not routine. tonight, the images of this day. >> it was in a supermarket parking lot where gabrielle giffords was greeting her constituents when the gunman began firing. when the chaos cleared, the wounded evacuated by helicopter, law enforcement gathered under a banner bearing the congresswoman's name. what began in a routine exercise in democracy turned tragic, and as the victims grew, the devastation set in. arizona gathering to comfort one another. it was just days ago giffords was on the floor of the house, being sworn in, harolding the beginning of her new term. now, police have a suspect, still puzzled over a motive. and in washington, d.c. tonight, outside her office, a single bouquet as she fights for her life. >> and before we say good night, we're joined again by john carl and jake tapper. jake, we were moved which the president called her a friends and said we would get to the bottom of this. >> the president is quite upset about this.
he knows her personally and respects her quite a bit, and i think he's quite shaken by this. >> and john, no matter where you went on capitol hill today, politicians on every side of the aisle pulling for the congresswoman tonight. >> no question, including one of the most conservative members of the arizona deligation, a political foe of hers, who really disliked her, visibly shaken by this, tearess in his eyes. really pulling for her to pull through, and outraged by what happened. john carm and jake tapper. thanks to you both, and to our entire team, and our thoughts at abc with judge john roll's family and gabrielle giffords'. have a good eve wrrng good night.
so, at this time, i ask all americans to join me and michelle in keeping all the victims and their families, including gabby, in our thoughts and prayers. >> alan: the president calling it an unspeakable tragedy. at least 19 people shot, six people killed. after a gunman opened fire at a tucson supermarket. among the wound, arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords. she was shot in the head and is in critical condition. a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge are among the six people dead. toe suspect is in custody, and